Zion Education Policy Townhall ~ Lennie Jarratt Speaker

Lennie Jarratt answers questions at the Education Policy Townhall
Lennie Jarratt answers questions at the Education Policy Townhall
The Education Policy Townhall meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 4th proceeded without invited guest speaker Melinda Bush. Both Bush and Lennie Jarratt were invited to speak to local community members regarding school issues in the Zion-Benton area. Jarratt (Republican) and Bush (Democrat) are also running for State Senate in District 31. This was not a political event and was meant to explain to the audience members how to get involved in their school boards decision making and what they could do to make changes. It was a decent turnout with many members participating in the question and answer portion. Former Board members spoke up as well as local officials and people working at the high school. While the meeting was going on, the school board and union leaders were still negotiating, hoping to avoid a strike on Thursday. Unfortunately for the children, that did not happen and the next morning teachers were walking the picket lines.

Melinda Bush did not respond to several invites
Melinda Bush did not respond to several invites
Melinda Bush is a former Lake County Federation of Teachers Union Representative. Her attendance may have brought a different perspective to the conversation if she is in support of the teachers strike. Lennie Jarratt is a local Round Lake Area resident who has been a taxpayer watchdog of the Grayslake District 46 Board meetings for a number of years. Most recently, Jarratt was able to obtain email records (through the FOIA) attributed to former D46 Board President Mary Garcia, that questioned her use of email that may have abused her position.

In emails sent to former Board President Mary Garcia, Board member Susan Facklam wrote “Don’t let them turn us in; gifts to register to vote is probably illegal”.

Susan Facklam, who STILL sits on the D46 School Board, was eventually notified by Lake County Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Daniel Jasica that she had been found guilty of “a felony violation of Illinois election code by handing out the gift certificates”. Garcia lost her re-election bid.


Currently, there is no update on when the Board and the Union will be sitting down again to discuss the contract. In the meantime, while the teachers walk the picket line the students are losing out on their education.

The video below shows the unedited 1.5 hour long meeting. Your comments are always welcome.

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  • LC Truth

    Gene…Ms. Bush probably did Mr. Jarrett a favor giving him the stage. It is not their battle yet. Where were the other three GOP contenders? Those are the gentlemen who should have been there. Until March 21st we are not going to know who the Republicans in the 31st are going to crown their king to go a head to head with Ms. Bush throughout the General Campaign Season. I am sure if Mr. Jarrett wins the nomination, there will be plenty of opportunity for us to learn the platforms of these two individuals. My bet is he will get the nod by a lack-luster base in the 31st.

  • Gene Carey

    LC ~ This was not a political debate. She and Jarratt were invited to discuss the situation going on in the Zion-Benton school district, especially the failure of the two sides coming together to avoid a strike.

    Bush, being a former union rep, would have been the person at the meeting to defend the unions which was what a lot of the audience were against (maybe that’s why she shied away). Why would the other GOP candidates be at a meeting like this when they may know very little about how school boards work? Jarratt was invited because of his relentless efforts to keep D46 on their toes and THINK before they make final decisions. That was the point he tried to make to the people in attendance, to get involved and let the local school boards know that decisions they make WILL be scrutinized.

    What has that got to do with Leafblad, Neal, and White who may have never attended a school board meeting in their life? Yet, it had everything to do with Bush’s background as a school union representative. The host spelled it out in the beginning that this was NOT a political event.

    Actually, the single person who made it HIS political event was Clyde McLemore who went on and on about why he was running for NS Sanitation District. He was even passing out the Democratic Candidate Forum fliers for their Jan. 19th event in the lobby before the meeting got started.

  • LC Truth

    Been out of town and catching up. Actually the Zee Bee strike is a legitimate attempt by the teachers to begin reducing the costs to taxpayer in the long run. Something Mr Jarratt is an advocate of. Of course the moment someone hears the word union, the naysayers come out of the wood work. The District is playing politics and the students lose.
    I don’t follow Sanitary District politics. Why we even have an elected body for this type of business bogles my mind. Didn’t know there was a GOP or Democratic way to run the sewage 🙂
    As far as Mr. McLemore…this guy goes with the wind. He was an actual Joe Walsh supporter. Just another wanna-be who gets no traction.

  • Gene Carey

    LC ~ I had links to each sides ‘final” offer but I’m sure a lot has changed in the last few days. Seems to me the teachers biggest beef is waiting 20 years to get what current teachers got in only ten years. Looking at their current salaries, I would sure like to make what some are making for less than a full years work.

    2010 ZB salaries:

    If you’ve got a Facebook page go to the following site to read what parents are saying: Support District 126 School Board

    I could have gone to the Sunday evening townhall meeting which required a resident ID or press pass to enter but didn’t feel it had much to do with District 116 and stayed at the “Beach Party” instead.

    • LC Truth

      Gene….thanks for the link…what the information fails to point out is how many years those individuals have been teaching. I clearly see some form of experience wage scale.
      As far as commenters….we both know only the passionate….whether right or wrong make comments. Just like here 🙂

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